I have to admit that I was appalled when I recently read a news story on how Microsoft will be ending its employee ranking system, which I never even knew they had. In the story it talked about how managers had the task of not only doing the traditional job evaluations but having to rank their employees from best to worst if you will, and some of those employees, who might have really been good, had to be given poor reviews.

Office Staff Circa 1920s
Metro Library and Archive via Compfight

It reminded me of a post that I wrote more than 7 years ago on almost the same subject, only it was about ranking employees for raises and how I knew what was coming, tried to warn employees about it, they voted it in anyway and what happened after the fact. I knew that a lot of companies had management rank employees for raises and have always hated that concept, and in the story it mentions that Yahoo has now gone that route. Just deplorable.

Have you ever noticed which company is often ranked in the top 10 for employee satisfaction? Google, that's who. And who are Microsoft and Yahoo's biggest competitor? Google? And who's winning the battle? Google; case closed.

What I've always found is that employees function better in an environment where they receive praise for doing well. In essence, you don't set up an environment where they compete against each other; you set up an environment where they want to compete against themselves.

When I was an every day manager, what I did was have meetings monthly with each person where we talked about the progress they showed based on their workload, which had different categories. Whether they got praise, encouragement or even, very rarely, counseling on what needed to be worked on, it was a personal conversation between myself and them.

But I also always had departmental goals where, if the entire department met the goal, we had a party, or some kind of event to celebrate it. All inclusive; that was my motto. And I like to think it worked out well because in all my years I had almost no employees ever leave on their own unless it was to take on leadership positions elsewhere. Frankly, I thought that was a nice tribute, although I worked hard on creating leaders, even if they chose not to go elsewhere.

Some people will thrive in a business culture like the one mentioned above, but only until one day they find out that they're the ones being ranked the lowest. Then what will you do?